Update on Baby, Future Plans, etc

I know, it’s been awhile since I posted on this blog. Two months, actually. I’ve been really busy with the mom life. My baby girl is almost 6 months old. In fact, her six month birthday is this Saturday. After six months of exclusively breastfeeding her, I’m planning on starting her on baby cereal this Saturday.

The past six months have been 20160817_104645filled with so many firsts. And they all happen so quickly! I saw her find her hands and feet for the first time. I saw her roll over from tummy to back, and then, months later, a few days shy of her 5th month birthday, she rolled over from back to tummy.

The past few weeks, she’s been doing a lot of commando crawling. Commando crawling is when the baby gets around by lying flat on their back. She is going to be crawling on her hands and knees soon. She’s also been holding her own chin up with her own hand. It’s really quite cute.

She can sit up. I have to prop her up but once she’s in that position she does a really good job keeping her balance. Compare that to just two months ago when she could not keep her balance very well.

Having my baby girl has been such a life changing experience. I never really knew what people meant when they say that your life begins with the birth of a child — now I know.

In other news, about a week ago, I made my very first YouTube video. It is a photo montage of my baby girl’s first three months of life. Check it out below. I am open to any suggestions / comments. I used the free YouTube editor to add the pictures. But if you know of a (better) free editing software than please let me know about it below.

I’m planning on posting my (second) YouTube video on my baby girl’s first six months of life. I will post the link as soon as I post it on YouTube.

In other news, I might be going back to school. As many of you are aware, I completed my Bachelor’s of Arts in Communications degree at SNHU last year. I might be going back to get my graduate certificate in Quality Assurance. I’m currently looking for schools that offer the program. If any of you have a degree/certificate in this field, then please leave a comment below. Tell me how you like it and any relevant experience.

Until next time… I’ll try to post again soon.

Looking Back in Order to Move Forward

To be honest, I don’t really like long titles. I prefer short ones. The ones that make you stop and go “Hey! What’s that?” and then start you on a long process of rumination. But, for some reason, this title seems fitting somewhat. And when I’m writing, I tend to go with my gut instinct, with whatever sounds just right.

And the title is absolutely right! I am looking back towards 2015, at all the great changes that have happened this year. Perhaps at 26 I would have liked for some of the changes to happen just a little bit earlier. But I keep reminding myself that life happens at its own pace. Some of us are destined to have our lives picture perfect before the age of 24, while the rest of us are still struggling to find our footing, to discover who we were meant to be all along.

And even though I don’t believe in God, or any higher being, I still cling on to fate. Yes, I believe in fate. I believe that everything happens for a reason. I believe that everything that has happened to me at 26 (and prior to that) will be revealed in due time. I have to believe. Otherwise, how can I continue to have faith that everything will be okay in the end? And I do believe that everything will be okay. In the end.

At the beginning of the year, you know that I was in school. I was attending Southern New Hampshire University online. Well, I finally did it! I graduated! I can now say that I am a college graduate. I have a B.A. in Communications. It is honestly the proudest moment of my life. I’ve been working toward this moment since I was in high school, first filling out college applications and taking the new SAT (by the way, there’s going to be a new new SAT in 2016. Why??).

My eight year journey of college (2.5 years at Furman University in SC, .5 year in Berlin, Germany and then 1.5 years at SNHU) finally ended in 2015. It took so long because I took a leave of absence that soon became a four year leave of absence. But those four years weren’t a complete waste. I wasn’t sitting at home, watching TV and netflix all day. I was working retail and then during my off hours I was trying to figure out what I want to do for the rest of my life.

Well, now that I am a college graduate, I have narrowed it down to Marketing, PR, Social Media and Higher Education. Of course, I’m still holding on to my old childhood dream of becoming a published writer (hopefully next year in 2016!).

Even though I haven’t yet found my dream job, I’m hoping that that will happen next year, in 2016. In the meantime, I am picking continuing to pick up valuable skills that are not taught in the classroom. Specifically, I have went on a handful of interviews (face-to-face, virtual, phone) and had the extraordinary opportunity to connect with various recruiters and HR managers. I’ve learned how to communicate effectively, as well as persuasively, to get my point across (although that last part is really due to my Communications degree).

Some of these interviews went well, some not so well. Regardless of the outcome, I learned something new from every single one. For example, I learned about presenting my best self forward. I also learned about each of these companies from countless hours of research.

As with every year since 1999, Nanowrimo happened again this year. And this year, instead of just reaching 50,000 and stopping, no matter what. I finished my novel. I began the month of November with a good idea of how I want to begin, and end, my book. I planned out my characters and my plot, and then made sure that I had conflict.

And I finished. I finally finished a novel at just under 60K. Currently, I’m in the middle of editing my book (another first!) Maybe, just maybe, I will try to get my book published next in 2016.

As a result of Nanowrimo, I’ve also started to use to Twitter. More. Much, more more. And I’m finding that I’m really enjoying it. I love interacting with people on social media. I love participating in Tweet Chats. For example, there was a #MillennialTalk Tweet Chat that I attended this evening. I feel like I learn something new whenever I’m on Twitter. And I’m lovin’ it!

And then, on a more personal level, I found out that I’m expecting. Currently, I’m 30 weeks. It’s been pretty easy so far, and for that I’m grateful.

So, 2015. 2015 was a year of change… graduation, writing, soon-to-b new baby. I can’t wait to see what 2016 will hold for me. Stay tuned for my next post which will focus on 2016 and my New Year’s resolutions and goals. But in the meantime, tell me how 2015 has been for you!

 

A Dream Wrapped in Silver

When I first decided that I would go back to college after taking a four year leave of absence, I had to figure out what I wanted to study. Like most college students, I kept changing my major, going from English to Art History to Classical Studies and then, finally, to German.

I chose German then because I really enjoyed my German language courses. I loved speaking German. I loved to conjugate the verbs. I had all of my German prepositions memorized in song-form. I really, really liked German. After all, weren’t you supposed to choose a discipline that you were passionate about? I’ve always been interested in European history and culture, particularly Germany. I have a tiny, slightly unhealthy, obsession with Anne Frank. In fact, that’s why I wanted to learn German (and then, eventually, Dutch). I wanted to read her Diary in German. I wanted to get a feel for her Diary in that language. I thought that I would understand some of the phrases and cultural expressions better in the German (and Dutch) than in the English. Translated books are never as good as the original. I know that the German edition is translated too. But my college did not offer Dutch and I figured that I’ll learn German first, and then learn Dutch.

So, I learned German. I even studied abroad in Berlin, Germany. That was the best experience of my life. I loved living outside the U.S. I loved having the opportunity to speak German everyday in a different country. I relished in the opportunity to study and live in a different culture. I loved taking the U-Bahn and S-Bahn. I loved my host family. I loved the food (sauerkraut!) and the Weihnachten Markt in December. I loved everything about Germany.

So, why did I eventually change majors again?

Well, after four years of working retail, I’ve grown (not that I didn’t in college). Much as I loved German, I did not know what I wanted to do with it. And, not all colleges offer German as a major. I knew that when I went back to college, I would choose a major that was practical. But at the same time, deep down, I wasn’t sure if there was another so-called “dream major” for me.

I think researched colleges for a year. When I did so, I also scanned their list of majors and tried to find one that interested me. My first thought was English. Why not? English was my favorite subject in high school. I am a pretty good writer. At least, I think I am. At least, I’ve always enjoyed writing.

But, as much as I enjoy English and writing, I also know that I do not enjoy analyzing literature. I love how it is open to interpretation. And who doesn’t like getting to read fiction for homework? But I knew that I would not be happy staying up until four in the morning, working on a paper for Pride and Prejudice or some other book.

Eventually, I stumbled upon Communications. I used to always dismiss the subject. But the more I read about it, the more interested I became. When I discovered SNHU, I read through the Communications courses. They all looked interesting.

And they were. I’m nearly done with my undergrad degree and I’ve enjoyed every one of my courses. I loved learning about public relations, journalism, social media, Adobe Illustrator, technology and SEO. As someone who has so many different interests, communications seemed like the right one for me. I wanted something focused and yet broad enough to allow me to explore my interests. As a shy person, communications turned out to be my “soul mate” of majors.

When I first enrolled at SNHU, I not only knew what my major would be, I also thought that I wanted to become a copyeditor or an editor. But college changes people. I took on other roles. I became a Peer Leader for SNHU and found that I really enjoyed helping students. I love to connect with them via email and help them with an assignment. I love watching their minds grow and flourish. I would love to continue and develop this role further and hope that I would have an opportunity to do so in the future.

Recently, I started an internship with the Borgen Project, working as an editor. I edited a few articles and found that I really enjoyed it. I always knew that I have an eye for detail and I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing. What I mean to say is that becoming an editor is not on the back burner anymore. It is a possibility, a dream wrapped in silver that is starting to sparkle.

Top 6 Things I Learned at SNHU

6 Things That I Learned at SNHU

 As I approach the end of my time at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), I would like to share the top eleven things that I have learned. (Note: These eleven things are not in any particular order).

1. Time Management

Since I take online classes at a brick-and-mortar college, 95 percent of my education is dependent upon me and how well I can get my work down on time. Like most online students, I have extremely busy with work, personal life and school. This means that I have had to learn how to prioritize and plan. I have to plan my work in advance. I have to take it one assignment or task at a time. Once one task is done, then I can move on to the next. This is the key to managing my stress level. I’m glad that I have had to learn how to manage my time because this will be extremely important post-graduation.

2. Teamwork

Taking online classes at a traditional brick-and-mortar school, it may seem as if I don’t have many opportunities for collaboration. Not true! In my Writing for Public Relations class this term, my professor divided the class up into two groups. I am a member of group A. Every week, we work on a different project together using a Wiki platform. One week, we created a flier for an organization. Another week, we wrote news leads. It is an interesting experience as we all learn to set aside our differences and work together to create a project. It has helped to bring new ideas that I alone would not have thought of.

3. Leadership

Teamwork is tied closely with leadership. Teamwork cannot happen without leadership, and vice versa. On SNHU’s social media site, I am one of the Peer Leaders. I motivate new students by giving advice and sharing personal stories. I learned that being a leader is not about giving orders. It is about setting an example, accepting and receiving feedback, and working as part of a team. It is about motivating others and holding others accountable. Leaders are the first people to get up and do something. They set the bar high and expect others to follow.

4. Motivation

I have to stay motivated at SNHU to succeed. Since I don’t have to attend class three or four days a week, it is up to me to make sure that I know what the assignments are and when they are due. It is up to me to make sure that I do these assignments. For me, motivation comes in the form of my impending graduation. I have three classes left, after this one, and then I am done. When I am that close, that’s even more reason to keep going. Another way that I get motivated is (call me crazy) is by watching SNHU commercials. Those commercials are really entertaining.

5. Networking

Since starting at SNHU, I have tried to cultivate my online presence by polishing up my personal brand. I have a LinkedIn profile, which I use to connect with fellow SNHU students and alumni, as well as connecting with people in my chosen field. I also have a Twitter account for networking and promoting this blog. Networking is about making friends, connecting with industry experts, and putting myself out there. I communicate until I get heard loud and clear. I make a name for myself so that I am not just some random person out of a million with a Facebook page.

6. KISS

Chances are, you are familiar with this acronym. KISS stands for Keep It Simple, Silly. As a Communications major, I do a lot of writing for my classes. I write news releases and articles. I create brochures and write memos. In each of these assignments, I am realizing the value of using short sentences and common words. I have to write to be understood and not just to impress.

How I came to major in Communications

Since I started college in 2007 at age 18, I’ve been through at least five different majors.

I started college with the intent to become an English major. I love the written word. I love reading British lit (Jane Eyre, Oliver Twist). I wanted to become a published writer. But then college started, I took a couple of introductory German classes and I absolutely fell in love. I loved the words, the grammar, the nuances of the language. I loved writing in German, listening to my professor speak German, and I loved the culture of Germany. German happened, took me over, and I changed my major from English to German.

For the first two years of my college career, I took German major courses. I even studied abroad in Berlin and had the most amazing experience. I loved the operas, the museums, the Brandenburg Gate, the city, the people.

And yet, I felt that German was not my destiny. I loved it, but it wasn’t in my future. In other words, it wasn’t my calling. I’ve had near instances during those two vital years of college in which I questioned German. I took Art History, Psychology, and Mythology — all of which I loved equally. I considered majoring in those disciplines.

Four years later and I enrolled at SNHU. I did some research. By now, I wasn’t the same wide-eyed teenager in college. I was a semi-experienced professional who  viewed college differently. Previously, I viewed it was the logical next step after high school. It was the path to freedom from parents and discovering oneself. Now, I view college as a means for self-improvement and advancing one’s career.

I chose Communications.  I have so far loved all of my communications classes. I love to blog and I love the idea of social media. I am fascinated by how it has brought people together. I love how we can use social media to connect with celebrities and organizations. I really think that communications is my calling. It was what I was meant to major in all along.

Love With Food on Valentine’s Day

My Love With Food box for the month of February arrived today, 2/14/2015!
My Love With Food box for the month of February arrived today, 2/14/2015!

A few weeks ago, I discovered Love With Food. Okay. I can’t take all the credit. One of my SNHU friends happened to mention a package that she had received from Love With Food.

I admit, I was intrigued. The title drew me in right away. When I investigated further, I learned that it sells organic and gluten-free food. As a person who has always been health conscious and mindful about what goes into my body, this spoke volumes to me. Plus, if that wasn’t enough, for every box that Love With Food sells, the organization donates meals to food banks in America. It is a win-win solution.

This is the first box that I’ve received. I ordered one of the month-to-month tasting boxes. It looks like I got two bags of chips, a packet of cocoa mix, protein bars, candy, and seasoning. I even got some Mardi Gras beads. I love that all of the snacks are all-natural, made with no artificial flavoring and high fructose corn syrup. This box totally outdid itself this month and I’m really looking forward to the next one in March!

So, feel free to check out Love With Food! You won’t regret it, I promise.

Freelance Writing: The Beginning

One of my new friends at SNHU changed my life… and potentially my future. She sent me an e-mail, which touched me to the very bottom of my heart. She remarked on my writing skills and suggested that I try ghost writing. She gave me a couple of sites to try. One of those sites was Textbroker.com.

This happened a month ago. A month later, I thought that I would write a blog about it. I’m not saying that I am an expect in this field. What I am saying, however, is that I’d like to share my experience so far and my hopes for the future.

But first, let me give you a brief overview. Textbroker is a content creation site. Writers can submit content. Organizations, groups, and individuals post writing jobs, which becomes available to the wider community at large.

Since joining Textbroker, I have written articles about a variety of subjects. I have written product descriptions. I have written blog articles. I have written reviews about restaurants and events. I have learned about Guinness products, retail positions, home organization, cleaning services, cat play structures, amongst some other topics. I have had to conduct research to learn more about the subject.

I am so thankful that writing for Textbroker is giving me the opportunity to refine my writing and research skills to create search engine optimized (SEO) articles. It’s only been a month and yet I’ve learned so much. I’m doing something that I enjoy — writing — and it’s wonderful. Doing this is giving me more confidence in my writing. I have high hopes for my writing future. I’m sure that Textbroker is the beginning of that long and windy road to publication.

4 Benefits of Online Education

For today’s post, I’d like to discuss the benefits of online education. As a disclaimer, I’d like to point out that I am not an expert on online education. I am, however, a student who has been attending online classes for one year, since January 2014.

When I first decided to go back to school — online, if you will — I was nervous, apprehensive, scared, intimidated. I was all of those adjectives rolled into one — and more! My academic advisor at the time went over the platform that the University uses, advised me to only take one class my first term, and made sure that I had dotted all my i’s and crossed all my t’s. In short, I really appreciated her taking the time to acclimate me to the online learning environment. It wasn’t my first time at college but it was my first time doing it online.

After the first few weeks, I adapted. I flourished. I enjoyed it. I had fun. I learned a lot. And continued to do so.

One thing that I loved was that I could work at my own pace. I could study at any time of the day — night or morning. I could work ahead, if I wanted to. Or I could stay with the class and take it week by week. It was my choice. But I relished that freedom.

Second, I loved that I could continue working while going to school. I could gain experience in and out of the virtual classroom. It also gave me an excuse to use what I learned outside of the classroom.

Third, I can work from home. I don’t have to worry about paying room & board. I can cut costs and reduce the amount in student loans that I take out.

And finally, I enjoy attending school with people of different ages, life experiences, and cultural backgrounds. In my classes, I am not only learning from my professors, but the students as well. We are all learning from each other. And collaborative learning is a skill that is used in the workplace.

To recap:

Benefits

  • Work at your own pace.
  • Real world experience while taking classes.
  • Save money on residency / meal plans.
  • Collaborative learning

So, what do you think? Comment below and tell me what you think about online education!